14 April 2013

Migrants in the south

Week 14, 03 April 2013 - Sabah Al Ahmad Sea City (Click to enlarge image)

I was back down at Sea City in the first week of this month and for this visit had favourable weather. I spent most of the time looking for migrants on the 4 islands where some of the shrubs and bushes were flowering and this is where many of the migrants were concentrated.

The first stop produced a White-throated Robin, not the striking male I was hoping for. It turned out this species was seen on all 4 islands.

White-throated Robin (Irania gutturalis)
A female Ehrenberg's Redstart was also present (note the prominent wing panel and dark centered median coverts - thanks Yoav)

Female Ehrenberg's Redstart (Phoenicurus p. sammamisicus)
As was this Daurian Shrike, although they are in the minority when compared to the numbers of Turkestan around (30:70)

Daurian Shrike (Lanius isabellinus)
Moving on I found some flowering Bottlebrush and this was literally a magnet for many species. On Green Island, these bushes are more mature and have numerous species feeding on the impressive flowers

Flowering Bottlebrush
Today it was mostly Blackcaps

Male Eurasian Blackcap (Sylvia atricapilla)

and Lesser Whitethroat, although I did catch a glimpse of a Common Nightingale in the depths of the shrub

Lesser Whitethroat (Sylvia curruca)

Other interesting species seen included...

3 Eurasian Wrynek's

Eurasian Wryneck (Jynx torquilla)
A single Masked Shrike

Masked Shrike (Lanius nubicus)
More White-throated Robin's

White-throated Robin (Irania gutturalis)
and both Ehrenberg's Redstart and Common Redstart's

Female Ehrenberg's  Redstart (Phoenicurus p. sammamisicus)

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)
and good numbers of Rufous-tailed Scrub Robins

Rufous-tailed Scrub Robin (Cercotrichas galactotes)
Good numbers of Turkestan Shrike are still present and trying to harass and ambush some of the tired migrants passing through

Turkestan Shrike (Lanius phoenicuroides)
It is interesting to note that almost all of the Pied Wheatear's passing through now are females - sexual segregation in departure dates for this species during migration?

Female Pied Wheatear (Oenanthe pleschanka)

Sadly, even here in Khiran shooters make their way onto the islands to shoot migratory birds - is nothing sacred, even in this pristine area? This was one of many fresh shotgun cartridges found

Spring shooting continues like a plague
Back on mainland a few Red-throated Pipits were seen and the numbers of this species should slowly increase over the coming weeks.

Red-throated Pipit (Anthus cervinus)
A stunning male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush was seen on Road 278 on the way back to the site office.

Male Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush (Monticola saxatilis) 

Followed by a few more Common Redstart's

Male Common Redstart (Phoenicurus phoenicurus)

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